Leo McKern

Actor, Radio writer, Engineering apprentice
Australian character actor in England since 1946. Popular character player of stage, TV and film, often in garrulous, blustery roles. Leo McKern was best known for playing Horace Rumpole in the "Rumpole of the Bailey" ... Read more »
Born: 03/16/1920 in Australia

Filmography

Actor (61)

Molokai: The Story of Father Damien 1997 (Movie)

Bishop Maigret (Actor)

Rumpole and the Children of the Devil 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

Rumpole and the Eternal Triangle 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

Rumpole and the Family Pride 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

Rumpole and the Miscarriage of Justice 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

Rumpole and the Reform of Joby Jonson 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

Rumpole on Trial 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

Dad & Dave - On Our Selection 1994 (Movie)

Dad Rudd (Actor)

Rumpole of the Bailey, Series VI 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

Rumpole and Portia 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Rumpole and the Age of Miracles 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Rumpole and the Barrow Boy 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Rumpole and the Bubble Reputation 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Rumpole and the Quality of Life 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Rumpole and the Tap End 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Rumpole of the Bailey, Series IV 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

Travelling North 1988 (Movie)

Frank (Actor)

Agatha Christie's "Murder With Mirrors" 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

Ladyhawke 1985 (Movie)

Imperius (Actor)

Rumpole of the Bailey, Series III 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

Rumpole's Return 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

King Lear 1983 - 1984 (TV Show)

Actor

Reilly: Ace of Spies 1983 - 1984 (TV Show)

Actor

The Chain 1984 (Movie)

Thomas (Actor)

Voyage of Bounty's Child 1982 (Movie)

Narration (Narrator)

Rumpole of the Bailey, Series II 1980 - 1981 (TV Show)

Actor

The French Lieutenant's Woman 1981 (Movie)

Dr. Grogan (Actor)

Country 1980 (Movie)

Sir Frederick Carlion (Actor)

Rumpole of the Bailey, Series I 1979 - 1980 (TV Show)

Actor

The Blue Lagoon 1980 (Movie)

Paddy Button (Actor)

The Last Tasmanian 1978 (Movie)

Narration (Narrator)

Candleshoe 1976 (Movie)

Bundage (Actor)

The Omen 1976 (Movie)

Archaeologist (Actor)

Massacre in Rome 1973 (Movie)

General Kurt Maeizer (Actor)

Ryan's Daughter 1970 (Movie)

Thomas Ryan (Actor)

The Prisoner 1967 - 1969 (TV Show)

Actor

Assignment K 1968 (Movie)

Smith (Actor)

The Shoes of the Fisherman 1968 (Movie)

Cardinal Leone (Actor)

A Man For All Seasons 1966 (Movie)

Thomas Cromwell (Actor)

Agent 8 3/4 1965 (Movie)

Simenova (Actor)

Help! 1965 (Movie)

Clang (Actor)

The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders 1965 (Movie)

Squint (Actor)

King and Country 1963 (Movie)

Captain O'Sullivan (Actor)

Lisa 1962 (Movie)

Brandt (Actor)

I Like Money 1961 (Movie)

Muche (Actor)

The Day the Earth Caught Fire 1960 (Movie)

Bill Maguire (Actor)

Scent of Mystery 1959 (Movie)

Tommy Kennedy (Actor)

A Tale of Two Cities 1958 (Movie)

Attorney General--Old Bailey (Actor)

The Mouse That Roared 1958 (Movie)

Benter (Actor)

Yesterday's Enemy 1958 (Movie)

Max (Actor)

Time Without Pity 1956 (Movie)

Robert Stanford (Actor)

All For Mary 1954 (Movie)

Gaston Nikopopoulos (Actor)

A Foreign Field (TV Show)

Actor

Good King Wenceslas (TV Show)

Actor

Monsignor Quixote (TV Show)

Actor

Our Mutual Friend (TV Show)

Actor

The Master Builder (TV Show)

Actor

The Nativity (TV Show)

Actor

Biography

Australian character actor in England since 1946. Popular character player of stage, TV and film, often in garrulous, blustery roles. Leo McKern was best known for playing Horace Rumpole in the "Rumpole of the Bailey" series for Thames TV, which began production in 1977 with sequential episodes produced on and off into the 90s. McKern's curmudgeonly barrister was popular in its American run under PBS' "Mystery!" banner as well. After some stage appearances in his native Australia, McKern arrived in Britain in 1946 and within a year was touring the provinces on stage. He made his London debut at the Old Vic in "Love's Labour's Lost" in 1949 as Forester, and went on to make numerous stage appearances through the 70s, and then sporadically into the 80s. Among his heralded roles were the title character in "Volpone," Iago in a 1963 production of "Othello" at the Old Vic, and Shylock in "The Merchant of Venice" at the Oxford Playhouse (1973). McKern began appearing in films in 1962, playing a knight in "Murder in the Cathedral." It was not until 1966 that he won attention in the U.S. as the scheming Thomas Cromwell in "A Man For All Seasons," and in 1970, played Sarah Miles' father in "Ryan's Daughter." In the latter, he was the mole for the Brits for whom his daughter takes the fall when it is revealed she has been having an affair with a British officer. McKern also played Bugenhagen the old exorcist in "The Omen" (1976) and its 1978 sequel. It was as Rumpole that McKern won his most lasting international regard, although the down-at-his-heels character was oft considered too literary even on British TV. Also on TV, McKern was #2 who takes Patrick McGoohan prisoner in "The Prisoner," an ethereal TV series which ran in 1967 in Britain and in 1968 on CBS in the U.S. He was also David Ben-Gurion, prime minister of Israel, in "The House on Garibaldi Street," a 1979 TV movie about the capture of Adolf Eichmann. Additionally, he played Gloucester in the 1984 rendition of "King Lear" presented by Lord Laurence Olivier. McKern wrote one radio play, "Chain of Events" and a 1983 memoir, "Just Resting."

Relationships

Norman Walton McKern

Father

Vera McKern

Mother

Abigail McKern

Daughter

Harriet McKern

Daughter

Jane Holland

Wife
married 1946

Milestones

1999

Acted in "Molokai: The Story of Father Damien"

1983

Had featured role in the British miniseries "Reilly, Ace of Spies"

1979

Played David Ben-Gurion in the ABC TV-movie "The House on Garibaldi Street"

1969

Played Tom Ryan in "Ryan's Daughter"

1968

Earned praise for supporting turn in "The Shoes of the Fisherman"

1966

Played Thomas Cromwell in "A Man For All Seasons"

1952

Film debut in small role in "Murder in the Cathedral"

1949

Made London stage debut with Old Vic Company

1946

Moved to London

1943

Made stage debut in Sydney, Australia

1935

Was engineering apprentice

Co-starred in the cult TV series "The Prisoner"

Served in Australian army

Starred as Horace Rumpole in "Rumpole of the Bailey"; aired in USA on PBS

Spent three years as artist

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